How can I save the river from my backyard?

The Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition of Jefferson County respectfully requests your presence at the unveiling of our latest project.

With funds obtained through a Stream Partners grant, a plan has been executed to negate the ponding of water and hydroplaning issue on W.Va. 9 in Jefferson County near Mission Road. The methods used at the Mountain Community Center are the same methods homeowners can incorporate on their own properties to slow the flow of water during rain events.

Runoff from storms and from average rain events washes contaminates into our water supply. By slowing the flow of water from our properties we can retain the water and allow it to filter into the karst which recharges our drinking water. There is no better filter than the earth to clean the water as it re-enters our water supply.

In these politically charged times, I believe that we can all agree on the fact that we need clean water for survival. Unfortunately, the political discourse in this country has led us to a place where the issues facing our water supplies are debated frequently, yet little is done to correct the problems. Saving our water supplies can start with you.

With a proactive community approach we can have a large impact on our watershed, the rivers and the Chesapeake Bay downstream. Ignoring our water quality could result in heavy-handed mandates down the road. Now is the time to take these issues to heart and do our best to correct them ourselves. I have seen our community pull together when called upon and achieve great things.

There are few things as important as ensuring clean drinking water for the generations to follow. I know Jefferson County’s residents are up to the task. Considering the fact that you can only eat one fish safely a month from the Shenandoah River and the Elks Run has now been designated an “impaired stream,” the time is now, and there is no time to waste.

We invite residents to come and see what the Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition of Jefferson County has done to the Mountain Community Center, and would like to show you how you can retrofit these methods to suit your situation on your own land. Whether you reside on the Blue Ridge or in the valley, you have a daily impact on the watersheds around you. Please join us from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Mountain Community Center on Mission Road. Enjoy a hot dog, enter our raffle for a rain barrel and bring the kids for the Mountain Community Center Halloween bash. The Critter Lady will be in attendance with lots of creepy crawlies for your children to enjoy.

It is our responsibility and duty to try to improve our water quality. Why? Because we’re all downstream from somewhere. Let us show you how to “doah” your part to save our beloved Shenandoah and the Bay downstream.

— Ronda Lehman is the chairwoman of the Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition. Reach her at or 304-261-8070.


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